| In the Presence of Mine Enemies |
POD: c. 1940
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||2000|
|Parents:||Heinrich and Lise Gimpel|
|Relatives:||Roxane and Francesca Gimpel (sisters)|
Alicia Gimpel (b. 2000) was the eldest daughter of Heinrich and Lise Gimpel. She and her family were Jews living in secret in Berlin. As is customary among the Jewish community in the Greater German Reich, Alicia was told of her true heritage upon reaching the age of ten by her parents and various Jewish friends of the family, including the Stutzmans and Susanna Weiss. Her younger sisters, Francesca and Roxane, were not allowed to know.
Alicia, a girl raised in the Nazi philosophy, struggled through the course of the year with her knowledge and the implications of the truth. Initially filled with self-loathing, Alicia eventually accepted and even loved her Jewish heritage. She also came to understand the fallibility of the Nazi regime, and began questioning the validity of much of what she had learned in her ten years, particularly the history she was being taught.
Moreover, Alicia came to realize certain of the impracticalities of the system, particularly when Heinz Buckliger became Führer and instituted reforms. It was quite common for her teacher, Herr Kessler, to advocate for diametrically opposed positions as equally valid.
Nonetheless, the year was difficult for Alicia. She was isolated in school, subjected to the villainous imagery the Reich used to depict the Jews. She had to use caution at home, as her sisters were not allowed to know the truth, and frequently repeated the accepted view of Jews as evil. While her mother provided some guidance, Alicia was ultimately left to her own course to decipher the truth.
At the beginning of 2011, Erika Dorsch, the wife of Heinrich Gimpel's friend Willi Dorsch, denounced Heinrich as a Jew. The Gimpel children were taken into custody with their father by the Security Police. Alicia joined her sisters in loudly proclaiming her innocence, and suffered days of imprisonment and interrogation. While in custody, Alicia became friendly with a young arsonist named Paula. Paula was deeply cynical about the system, and was pleased at the notion that some Jews might actually have survived. Alicia maintained her denial, in case Paula was a plant, but Paula didn't care either way. She went out of her way to help Alicia once by hiding some food when Alicia was forced to miss supper because she was being interrogated. Eventually, Erika Dorsch retracted her statement, and the Gimpels were released.
With the reform movement in the Reich underway, Alicia grew more comfortable with the truth. In 2011, she was present when Francesca, now aged 10, was told the secret.